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'Highlands must remain closed to visitors despite lockdown restrictions', MSP urges


By Hector MacKenzie

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The Highlands are a massive visitor draw but must remain protected against the coronavirus, MSP John Finnie insists.
Picture: John Davidson
The Highlands are a massive visitor draw but must remain protected against the coronavirus, MSP John Finnie insists. Picture: John Davidson

THE Highlands must remain closed to visitors for now despite the impending easing of lockdown restrictions, a Highland MSP warned today.

Green MSP for the Highlands and Islands John Finnie made his remarks in the wake of the First Minister’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown.

The Scottish Government has signalled its intention to begin a phased end to lockdown restrictions from May 28.

However restrictions on travel, tourism and hospitality businesses are likely to remain for sometimes to come.

Mr Finnie has previously issued calls for short-term let operators throughout the Highlands to stop taking bookings throughout the crisis and for people with second homes in the region to stay away for now.

Mr Finnie said: “Today’s announcement from the First Minister provides some light at the end of the tunnel but it’s important to remember that restrictions remain in place and won’t be completely lifted for some time to come.

"The risk of overwhelming health services in remote and rural communities throughout the Highlands remains very real and would be exacerbated by an influx of tourism from the rest of the country. I would therefore implore those with second properties to please stay away until we can be sure the threat from this deadly virus has passed.”

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